In just the past month, we have had 12 CFO positions posted to our career center, and even more financial-related jobs. There is a great deal of competition for these roles, so you need to be sure you have what it takes. The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit resource based in Boston, Mass., released a short quiz that well test whether you are ready to become a nonprofit CFO.
The quiz consists of the following seven questions:
- Are you good at doing puzzles? An good CFO will spend a lot of time trying to figure how to book things one way or another.
- Are you comfortable managing a subsidy business and a triple bottom line? The most common "subsidy business" is fundraising, and the success of a nonprofit is never measured solely on financial results.
- Do you have nerves of steel...and an imagination that can make cash elastic? Being able so stretch cash is a key skill for the nonprofit CFO, as is creativity in solving problems.
- Are you able to tell the finance story in program terms, and the program story in finance terms? The CFO is often the only person in the organization with any formal training in accounting or finance.
- Can you explain and address capital structure issues? While the mission of a nonprofit might be clear, what is often not is its underlying business model.
- Are you good at consensus-building? A big part of building trust in nonprofits involves creating consensus with disparate staff, volunteers, and board members.
- Do you have a big heart? This is an essential attribute of a successful nonprofit Chief Financial Officer. It is difficult to work at a mission-driven organization without being passionate about the mission.